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Social Movements

Be sure and write a thorough and detailed response to the question below. The exam must be the computer or typewritten and double-spaced. There is a strict FIVE-PAGE limit; any exam longer than five double-spaced pages will be penalized one step (i.e., a B will become a B-). The midterm will be assigned a letter grade, and this grade will be worth 15 percent of your final grade. If you produce your exam on a word-processor, be sure to press the spell-check button before printing your final exam. PLEASE write your exam with a minimum of a 10 point font and a minimum of 1-inch spacing on the sides, top, and bottom. Also, PLEASE number the pages. You can cite texts and quotes either in the body of the paper [i.e., …as Staggenborg writes (p. 68); …In his conception, the revolutionary mass was just that: a mass to be turned on by media buttons (Gitlin 2009: 338)], or in footnotes or endnotes. You may attach a separate, additional title page if you prefer. Also, you may attach an additional page as a bibliography, as well as place endnotes in this separate page, if you prefer. (Additional pages with the title and your name, notes, and bibliographic references will NOT count against the page limit.) Be sure to SPELL CHECK YOUR ESSAY EXAM before submitting it! A word of advice: address all parts of the essay topic. Some people find outlines very helpful in this regard. Partial answers no matter how good cannot be given full credit. I do not accept late exams unless a student documents an emergency situation with a doctors notice or discusses circumstances with me beforehand.


Many citizens in the United States do not understand how profoundly American social movements between 1930 and the 1970s impacted American society. Write an essay that explains the importance of THREE of the following American movements in U.S. history:

1. the unemployed workers’ movement of the 1930s;

2. the industrial workers’ movement of the 1930s;


3. the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s;


4. the student and antiwar movements against American intervention in Vietnam during the 1960s and early seventies;

5. the second wave of the womens movement from the 1960s and seventies, that continued on and off for many years after.


Briefly discuss the ways the movements you write about altered the institutional forms and meaning of democracy in the United States. Place movements in their historical context, and use the counter-institutional model of social movements in doing so. Remember, the counter-institutional model brings together a focus on the dynamics of political processes as they unfold historically, with a focus on cultural identity centering on struggles over the symbolic mythos of democracy in analyzing such movements. In doing so, the counter-institutional model synthesizes both the political process model (shifts in political opportunities, resources and assets enabling mobilization, and cognitive shifts favorable to mobilization among potential activists), and the cultural innovations activists forge emphasized by new social movement theory (HINT: see Chapter 2 in Staggenborg for a refresher on these two models). Use examples cited in the course materials and/or during class sessions to illustrate your arguments as much as possible.

In answering this question, be sure to use some of the concepts introduced by Pivens and Cloward, McAdam, Staggenborg, and Gitlin at some point, such as adversary symbiosis, Black Power, bureaucracy, bus boycott, civil disobedience, corporations, deserving and undeserving poor, feminism, first wave womens movement, institutional bases, integration, integrationist, King Cotton, labor militancy, legitimacy, media events, media following, media frames, movement abeyance, oligarchy, second-wave womens movement, segregation, sharecropping, sit-down strike, sit-in, submerged networks, the suffragette movement, tenant farming, third-wave womens movement, wildcat strike, unions, etc.